Urbanization alters small rodent community composition but not abundance

Jessica N.Alvarez Guevara, Rebecca Ball

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Desert ecosystems are one of the fastest urbanizing areas on the planet. This rapid shift has the potential to alter the abundances and species richness of herbivore and plant communities. Herbivores, for example, are expected to be more abundant within urban desert remnant parks located within cities due to anthropogenic activities that concentrate food resources and reduce native predator populations. Despite this assumption, previous research conducted around Phoenix, AZ, USA has shown that top-down herbivory led to equally reduced plant biomass in both urban and outlying locations. It is unclear if this insignificant difference in herbivory at urban and outlying sites is due to unaltered desert herbivore populations or altered activity levels that counteract abundance differences. Small rodent herbivore/granivore populations were surveyed at four sites inside and four sites outside of the core of Phoenix during fall 2014 and spring 2015 in order to determine whether abundances and richness differ significantly between urban and rural sites. In order to survey species composition and abundance at these sites, 100 Sherman traps and eight larger wire traps that are designed to attract and capture small vertebrates such as mice, rats, and squirrels were set at each site for two consecutive trap nights. Results suggest that the commonly assumed effect of urbanization on herbivore abundances does not apply to small rodent populations in a desert city, as overall small rodent abundances were statistically similar regardless of location. Though a significant difference was not found for species richness, a significant difference between small rodent genus richness at these sites was observed, with altered community composition. The compositional differences likely reflect the altered vegetative community and may impact ecological interactions at these sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4885
JournalPeerJ
Volume2018
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Urbanization
Herbivory
urbanization
Rodentia
rodents
herbivores
Chemical analysis
deserts
traps
species diversity
Planets
Population
Ecosystems
Rats
Biomass
Sciuridae
Wire
squirrels
wire
anthropogenic activities

Keywords

  • Abundance
  • Arid
  • Arizona
  • Diversity
  • Rodent
  • Sonoran desert
  • Urbanization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Urbanization alters small rodent community composition but not abundance. / Guevara, Jessica N.Alvarez; Ball, Rebecca.

In: PeerJ, Vol. 2018, No. 5, e4885, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Guevara, Jessica N.Alvarez ; Ball, Rebecca. / Urbanization alters small rodent community composition but not abundance. In: PeerJ. 2018 ; Vol. 2018, No. 5.
@article{a1a867bbeeec4274920c5a620002895a,
title = "Urbanization alters small rodent community composition but not abundance",
abstract = "Desert ecosystems are one of the fastest urbanizing areas on the planet. This rapid shift has the potential to alter the abundances and species richness of herbivore and plant communities. Herbivores, for example, are expected to be more abundant within urban desert remnant parks located within cities due to anthropogenic activities that concentrate food resources and reduce native predator populations. Despite this assumption, previous research conducted around Phoenix, AZ, USA has shown that top-down herbivory led to equally reduced plant biomass in both urban and outlying locations. It is unclear if this insignificant difference in herbivory at urban and outlying sites is due to unaltered desert herbivore populations or altered activity levels that counteract abundance differences. Small rodent herbivore/granivore populations were surveyed at four sites inside and four sites outside of the core of Phoenix during fall 2014 and spring 2015 in order to determine whether abundances and richness differ significantly between urban and rural sites. In order to survey species composition and abundance at these sites, 100 Sherman traps and eight larger wire traps that are designed to attract and capture small vertebrates such as mice, rats, and squirrels were set at each site for two consecutive trap nights. Results suggest that the commonly assumed effect of urbanization on herbivore abundances does not apply to small rodent populations in a desert city, as overall small rodent abundances were statistically similar regardless of location. Though a significant difference was not found for species richness, a significant difference between small rodent genus richness at these sites was observed, with altered community composition. The compositional differences likely reflect the altered vegetative community and may impact ecological interactions at these sites.",
keywords = "Abundance, Arid, Arizona, Diversity, Rodent, Sonoran desert, Urbanization",
author = "Guevara, {Jessica N.Alvarez} and Rebecca Ball",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.7717/peerj.4885",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "2018",
journal = "PeerJ",
issn = "2167-8359",
publisher = "PeerJ",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Urbanization alters small rodent community composition but not abundance

AU - Guevara, Jessica N.Alvarez

AU - Ball, Rebecca

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Desert ecosystems are one of the fastest urbanizing areas on the planet. This rapid shift has the potential to alter the abundances and species richness of herbivore and plant communities. Herbivores, for example, are expected to be more abundant within urban desert remnant parks located within cities due to anthropogenic activities that concentrate food resources and reduce native predator populations. Despite this assumption, previous research conducted around Phoenix, AZ, USA has shown that top-down herbivory led to equally reduced plant biomass in both urban and outlying locations. It is unclear if this insignificant difference in herbivory at urban and outlying sites is due to unaltered desert herbivore populations or altered activity levels that counteract abundance differences. Small rodent herbivore/granivore populations were surveyed at four sites inside and four sites outside of the core of Phoenix during fall 2014 and spring 2015 in order to determine whether abundances and richness differ significantly between urban and rural sites. In order to survey species composition and abundance at these sites, 100 Sherman traps and eight larger wire traps that are designed to attract and capture small vertebrates such as mice, rats, and squirrels were set at each site for two consecutive trap nights. Results suggest that the commonly assumed effect of urbanization on herbivore abundances does not apply to small rodent populations in a desert city, as overall small rodent abundances were statistically similar regardless of location. Though a significant difference was not found for species richness, a significant difference between small rodent genus richness at these sites was observed, with altered community composition. The compositional differences likely reflect the altered vegetative community and may impact ecological interactions at these sites.

AB - Desert ecosystems are one of the fastest urbanizing areas on the planet. This rapid shift has the potential to alter the abundances and species richness of herbivore and plant communities. Herbivores, for example, are expected to be more abundant within urban desert remnant parks located within cities due to anthropogenic activities that concentrate food resources and reduce native predator populations. Despite this assumption, previous research conducted around Phoenix, AZ, USA has shown that top-down herbivory led to equally reduced plant biomass in both urban and outlying locations. It is unclear if this insignificant difference in herbivory at urban and outlying sites is due to unaltered desert herbivore populations or altered activity levels that counteract abundance differences. Small rodent herbivore/granivore populations were surveyed at four sites inside and four sites outside of the core of Phoenix during fall 2014 and spring 2015 in order to determine whether abundances and richness differ significantly between urban and rural sites. In order to survey species composition and abundance at these sites, 100 Sherman traps and eight larger wire traps that are designed to attract and capture small vertebrates such as mice, rats, and squirrels were set at each site for two consecutive trap nights. Results suggest that the commonly assumed effect of urbanization on herbivore abundances does not apply to small rodent populations in a desert city, as overall small rodent abundances were statistically similar regardless of location. Though a significant difference was not found for species richness, a significant difference between small rodent genus richness at these sites was observed, with altered community composition. The compositional differences likely reflect the altered vegetative community and may impact ecological interactions at these sites.

KW - Abundance

KW - Arid

KW - Arizona

KW - Diversity

KW - Rodent

KW - Sonoran desert

KW - Urbanization

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85047800568&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85047800568&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.7717/peerj.4885

DO - 10.7717/peerj.4885

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85047800568

VL - 2018

JO - PeerJ

JF - PeerJ

SN - 2167-8359

IS - 5

M1 - e4885

ER -